DALLAS — Trustees of Fort Worth Independent School District, Texas, are set to decide Aug. 13 on whether to call a bond referendum in November of up to $785 million.
A facilities report from a district consultant includes $755 million of new construction and renovation projects and another $30 million of transportation and other capital needs.
The price tag of the bond proposal is expected to be lower by the time voters go to the polls Nov. 5, said Superintendent Walter Dansby.
"This is an analysis of what are the needs," Dansby said at a trustee briefing on July 29. "The board will decide how much we could go out to the community for."
A series of public meetings on the bond proposal will be set for October if trustees opt for a November election, he said.
Fort Worth Independent School District's most recent bond program began with an initial $700 million project list that wound up as a $593.6 million referendum on the November 2007 ballot.
The district sold its last bonds from the 2007 authorization in 2010. The 2007 bond program included $551.9 million for 135 construction projects, including new campuses and additions to existing schools and renovations of several campuses and athletic facilities.
The district's $780 million of outstanding GO debt is rated Aa1 by Moody's Investors Service and AA by Standard & Poor's. The credit is enhanced to triple-A with coverage by the Texas Permanent School Fund.
Assessed property in the district, which encompasses Fort Worth and parts of eight smaller communities, topped $26 billion in fiscal 2013. The district's property tax rate includes a debt service component of 28 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and $1.04 per $100 for operations. The 2007 bonds required a tax increase of 6 cents per $100.
The report from AECOM, hired by the district in November 2012 to oversee development of the bond package, calls for several new schools and renovations to some existing campuses, and school security upgrades.
Projects on the initial list include three elementary schools, an arts academy, a math and science academy, an event center, and additional classrooms at elementary schools to accommodate a pre-kindergarten program. Proceeds would also provide new school buses and maintenance trucks, band instruments, and classroom fixtures.
AECOM served as project manager for the 2007 bond program.
The Fort Worth district has more than 80,000 students. It operates 83 elementary schools, 28 middle schools, 14 high schools, and 17 special campuses.
The city of Fort Worth currently is holding public meetings on a proposed $292 million GO bond package expected to go to voters in May 2013.